Our Hours Tuesday & Wednesday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Thursday: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm Friday & Saturday: 1:00 pm - 9:00 pm Sunday: 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm 1
Table of Contents FEATURES Inspiration: Literary Weddings .................................................................................. 4 Fictional Feasts ............................................................................................................ 8 Bringing History to Life ............................................................................................... 10 Literary Travel: The Vienna National Library ............................................................. 12 AUTHORS & WRITING Author Salons: Meet an Author .................................................................................... 15 Q&A with an Author: Amla Mehta .............................................................................. 16 Literary Submissions "Thrush" by Norbert Kovacs ......................................................................................... 19 "The Winnings" by Frank Diamond ............................................................................. 20 Poetry by Catherine Coundjeris .................................................................................... 22 Instructor Spotlight: Dawn Metcalf ............................................................................... 24 Column: Literary Unleashed by C. Flanagan Flynn ...................................................... 26 Spring Writing Workshops ............................................................................................ 28 SPRING EVENTS Signature Event Calendar............................................................................................... 31 Literary Afternoons ........................................................................................................ 33 The New Alice in Wonderland Tea Room ..................................................................... 34 A Look Back at Winter Events ....................................................................................... 36 YOUTH & LITERARY ACTIVITIES Youth Event Calendar .................................................................................................... 39 Word Search & Scavenger Hunt ..................................................................................... 40 Contest: Draw Archimedes! ............................................................................................ 43
Isn't It Romantic? What could be more enchanting than the fusion of true love and the love of literature? Literarythemed weddings and showers are both wonderfully singular and very on-trend. Whether you see yourself as the guest of honor or just an elated guest at an upcoming party, let your imagination take flight as we share some of our favorite literary worlds, just right for a romantic springtime event. 3
Captivating Book-Themed Weddings & Showers
The Storytellerâ€™s Cottage is available for private rentals including bridal & baby showers as well as wedding receptions. It's a charming, literary event space for bibliophiles who are celebrating exciting milestones, so call or stop in to discuss your upcoming event! We can't wait to help make your bookish dreams come true! 4
The importance of food in our favorite stories Have you ever daydreamed about eating treacle tart in the Hogwarts Great Hall? Or drinking butterbeer in Hogsmeade? Perhaps you've always imagined yourself sipping on Marilla's famous Raspberry Cordial while sitting on the porch at Green Gables... Whether you're imagining yourself eating seed cake with Bilbo in a cozy Hobbit house in Hobbiton or pretending to trade lemons at school like Amy March, food undoubtedly shapes the way we read books. When an author is able to describe in perfect detail a 'fictional feast,' it only serves to enhance the reader's experience. After all, in the real world, food is vital in setting the scene for important occasions; the same is true for our beloved fictional worlds as well. For example, Harry & Ron first bonded over sharing wizard sweets the first time they met on
the Hogwarts Express. As they tried Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and Chocolate Frogs, they bonded and formed a friendship that would last a lifetime and survive every hardship. Who'd have thought that something so simple could be the beginning of such a magical journey? Food has long been a symbol of community in every culture throughout history, so it makes sense that it would be just as important in our favorite stories. And while it often brings people together, it can also be used to manipulate and tear people apart as well. In The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, the Queen offers Turkish Delight to Edmund as a way to show friendship. Later, however, we learned that it was really a means of tempting and luring him away from his family and into her power. Whether used for good or evil, you can't deny that food plays a vital role in nearly every story we read! What literary foods would you serve at your own fictional feast?
Join us at The Storyteller's Cottage each month for a merry and nostalgic book & food pairing based on your favorite books! A cross between a book club and a tea party, our Fictional Feasts celebrate the beloved novels that we all know and love (so you won't have to commit to reading a new book each month). Immerse yourself in a cherished favorite novel as we chat about the story and sample its quintessential cuisine. (Designed for ages 12 adult) 'Little House on the Prairie' Fictional Feast
Fictional Feasts Calendar JANUARY: Little House on the Prairie Heart-shaped cakes, maple snow candy, peppermint sticks & Nellie Oleson's lemonade FEBRUARY: To All the Boys I've Loved Before Lara Jean's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies & Cherry Coke MARCH: The Great Gatsby "West Egg" Pastry Pigs & Daisy's Champagne Cocktail (Sparkling cider & secrets!)
A Jane Austen Tea
APRIL: Lord of the Rings Bilbo's Seed Cake & Ale (cream soda) MAY: Anne of Green Gables Raspberry Tarts & Raspberry Cordial JUNE: Harry Potter Hagrid's Rock Cakes & Butterbeer
'To All the Boys I've Loved Before' Fictional Feast
Macarons fit for 'A Little Paris Bookshop' 8
merican History comes alive...with 'A Girl at Heart' Bringing history alive through storytelling is no easy feat, but the 'American Girls' have been doing just that for generations. Whether they take us back to the Colonial times with Felicity or explore the American Southwest with Josephina, these amazing girls teach us about finding hope and facing challenges in our everyday lives. Their stories are timeless and are just as relevant today as ever. It just so happens that the American Girls have found a new home in Simsbury, CT and their stories are ready to be told once again at a new consignment store in the Simsburytown Shops called, 'A Girl at Heart.'
Q & A with Cheryl Schweizer, owner of 'A Girl at Heart...' Q. What inspired you to open an American Girl consignment store? A couple of things have inspired me to open an American Girl consignment shop...the first is my daughter Natalie’s love of all things American Girl! As she’s grown her collection over the past five years, I’ve come to realize what a quality product the books, dolls, clothes & accessories are. Secondly, since there is still such a demand for AG products, I thought why not offer a gently used, pre-loved collection from girls who have outgrown them? This way, a whole new generation of kids get to have the AG experience at a fraction of the cost! It’s a win-win situation! Q. What is your background and how has it shaped this exciting adventure?
Q. Why are the American Girl stories so important? What can we learn from them in 2020? Like I mentioned previously, the stories are incredibly engaging and compelling, but it doesn’t end there. The American Girl stories teach so much about character – bravery, humility, confidence, creativity, responsibility, gratefulness, forgiveness, kindness – I could go on and on! I think the world can be so complicated and stressful these days, but these books teach these timeless traits that children can use as they develop their own character. AG products are such a wholesome way to learn through play that isn’t electronic. That’s refreshing in today’s world!
'A Girl At Heart' is located in the Simsbury Town Shops (downstairs next to Ava Grace) on Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury, Connecticut. Phone: (860) 217-9367 https://www.agirlatheart.org
I’ve always had a love and appreciation for American history. I have a Masters’ Degree in history and I was a 6th grade teacher of Language Arts and History in Middlebury, CT for eight years. The American Girl series of books are so compelling and teach so many fantastic character traits, so it’s no surprise that I love them! Q. Can you tell us about your new birthday party options? I’m so excited to offer American Girl themed birthday parties now! We have a small but beautiful separate party space that includes doll chairs at the tables (very similar to the American Girl café in New York!). It’s steps away from our store, so it makes it very convenient to ensure that the party is very personalized. Our parties consist of an American Girl themed bingo game with prizes, a craft for both the girls and their dolls, a doll hair lesson (French braid or bun) and A Girl at Heart “bucks” for party participants, as well as the birthday girl, to spend in our store on our incredible selection of AG items, and comes complete with pizza, cupcakes & drinks.
Literary Travel Feature
The Austrian National Library Located in the heart of Vienna, Austria is a treasure like no other and bibliophiles have long had it on their bookish bucket lists...
As I roamed through the storybook-like hall, I felt like I was Elizabeth Bennet, Belle & Hermione Granger all at once. I couldn’t decide whether I was in Built in the 18th-century and Mr. Darcy’s stately library at containing more than 12 million Pemberley, the boundless library pieces in its collection, the Austrian within Beast’s enchanted castle or National Library is not only the the ancient library at Hogwarts largest in Austria but also the with its countless magical and largest Baroque library in all of mystical tomes. That being said, if Europe. you are a bibliophile and ever find yourself in Vienna, be sure to visit It is truly breathtaking; the sheer the Austrian National number of books on shelves and the Library...you won’t regret it! beautiful architecture that surrounds them is enough to make -- Amanda Forker any booklover’s heart stop. Originally known as the Imperial For more information visit: Court Library, it is part of the https://www.wien.info/en/ Hofburg Imperial Palace and was sightseeing/sights/imperial/ built by Joseph Emanuel Fischer national-library von Erlach by order of Emperor Charles VI. In 1920 it became known as the Austrian National Library and survived through both World War I and World War II.
Meet an Author at the Storyteller's Cottage March 8/ 2:00 pm Chris Zerillo "Still Here"
Still Here presents a sweeping tale of two strong women, Mary Rowlandson, a minister's wife captured in an Indian raid in Lancaster, Massachusetts during King Philip's War in 1676, and her captor, Sachem Weetamoo of the Pocasset Wampanoags.
March 15/ 2:00-3:30 pm All Access Authors: Young Adult Books ($10)
Lisa Acerbo "Remote" / Steven Parlato "The Precious Dreadful / Liz Delton "The Starless Girl" An up-close and personal afternoon with three talented Young Adult authors. Hear them read from their novels and enjoy light refreshments afterwards! Discuss the books and the authors' writing process, and ask any questions you like.
March 22/ 2:00-3:00 pm Dawn Metcalf "Luminous" & "Indelible"
Dawn Metcalf writes dark, quirky and sometimes humorous speculative fiction. Her debut novel, LUMINOUS, is a YA paranormal fantasy about a Latina-American superheroine who saves people from dying before their time. The Twixt series, including INDELIBLE, INVISIBLE, INSIDIOUS and INVINCIBLE is just your average fairy tale about a guy, a girl, a deadly mistake, a number of sharp, pointy objects and a plot to end the Age of Mankind.
April 5/ 2:00-3:00 pm Meredith Kazer "The Keeping House
"In this page-turning mystery-romance, young widow Lauren Serra purchases a deteriorating nineteenth century Queen Anne Victorian, in hopes that it might be the solution to the financial problems left by her recently deceased husband. Once she and her mother move in, they begin to uncover clues to the home’s tragic family secrets, hidden for almost a century."
April 19/ 3:30-5:00 pm Murder in the Library with Penny Goetjen
Join us for a unique hybrid event -- meet local mystery author, Penny Goetjen, then solve a mini mystery challenge based on their book!
April 26/ 2:00 pm Pat Kelbaugh "Dreamtime" and other works
Niantic author Pat Kelbaugh's five-volume “Dreamtime” novel series is influenced by the paranormal and stars a new breed of citizen-vampires. Through her “Dreamtime” novels, Kelbaugh has created a world in which vampires are not all evil and can live unrecognized among normal humans, thanks to a drug called Lexiri...
May 31/ 3:00 pm Dr. Morton Goldberg "The Humpty Dumpty Syndrome"
Early in his groundbreaking career as a maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Morton Goldberg coined “The Humpty Dumpty Syndrome” to describe patients whose eggshell-thin facial bones had been damaged by trauma, disease, or malformation. The Humpty Dumpty Syndrome is his memoir of surgical adventures as he did what all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t. He put people back together again.
Author Talks are just $5 and include light refreshments afterward Please register at www.storytellerscottage.com/book-online 14
Author Interview: Amla Mehta We were honored to host Amla Mehta for an author talk at The Storyteller's Cottage on Sunday, February 16th. Her book, 'Eye With a View' is a personal & inspirational story and we were so glad she could share it with us and our guests. What follows is a transcription of her taped interview which you can watch it in full on our YouTube channel! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99Knfn2QGrw
Q: What is the premise of 'Eye with a View?' Amla: The premise of the book is that there are twelve true stories based on universal themes like facing loss, being your authentic self and speaking your truth. Q: Who are your heroes and inspirations? Amla: That's a really good question. My hero is definitely [that] I believe that there's a higher power out there. I call it 'Divinity, Universe, God, Source, Creator.' That's my definite hero because that's what's gotten me through. And also, there is a quote out there that says, "Be the hero of your own story." And so, I am the hero of my own story by facing blindness. Q: What called you to write this story? Amla: I want to help people help themselves. The purpose of the book is for me to share my story, the struggles that I've been through and how I've actually coped and adapted with the struggle in order to persevere and jump through that hoop of challenge. Because we're all challenged. Q: What was the biggest discovery you made working on this book? Amla: I think the biggest discovery I made about this book [was] I didn't realize how many layers there are when you're writing nonfiction. You know, you have to heal through a lot of the, what I call, "the ouchies." You know, like the scrapes and the bruises, before you could talk about it and be inspiring [to] others. You're not the only one who is struggling in this world; we all are challenged. So that was surprising to me, the layers of writing [and] how much I had to go through in order to come on the other side of that.
Q: What was your writing process? Amla: The writing process was definitely stagnant; it was never smooth. I wanted to write this book ten years ago and here I am ten years later, due to the fact that I've fallen so many times with this blindness, going through ignorance and facing immense change and going through so many awkward moments; I had to heal before I could write this book. That was really interesting process for me but it came all together because I knew I needed to write the story for me, first and foremost, and then out for the world. I know if I can help one person out there, and it's in this book in one of the first pages, my purpose has been served. Q: How long did it take you to write this book? Amla: I've been basically writing, journaling since I was a teen but I strengthened my writing in college, over twenty years ago. [I've been] writing this book consistently [for] two full years, from A to Z, to have this book published, which was October 2019. Q: What do you hope readers will take away from your book? Amla: Don't give up. There's so much out there and there's no life manual to your story, to the way you grow in life. And the only way we grow as people and as human beings is by breaking down sometimes. But that's not the end-all-be-all result; you have to believe in yourself and that streams through your heart and being your authentic self.
Q: Did anything about writing it surprise you? Amla: I think the editing, because this is my first book, 'Eye with a View.' It surprised me how much detail and how much work there was involved in creating this story, this book.
by Norbert Kovacs
I hear the thrush high in the trees at a distance, his song like a clear, airy flute playing. I do not move as I listen to him. From the rest of the wood come other sounds. I hear the squirrel running, stopping and running again through last autumn's leaves. The bee buzzes past my arm. In the trees, the robins sing their familiar notes while perched in the branches. The crow caws in the sky. I listen to the sounds announce one after another, sometimes together. They are of a great number, too many to know. The forest goes quiet then and I hear the thrush. His song comes without answer from squirrel or robin or crow. It holds the air alone. I stand and listen to its fine, pure notes.
sing a short, two notes. These come not from the pine but the dense, shaded wood beyond it. I realize my thrush has flown. And that perhaps he never had been in the tree at all. I scan the dense woods and cannot guess where he might be. I wait and wait, but no bird sings. I take it as a message--from thrush or wood, I do not know. I bow my head humbly beneath the pine.
About the Author
Norbert Kovacs lives and writes in Hartford, Connecticut. He has published stories in Westview, Thin Air, STORGY, Corvus Review, and The Write Launch. His website is www.norbertkovacs.net.
Across the clearing are tall maples with leaves only at the canopy. I believe the thrush is singing in a pine fifteen yards behind them, so I walk towards the tree; I mean to see the bird in the upper branches. The thrush sings, grows quiet, and sings again. I step down the tall grass before me. A fallen birch I pass raises a bonelike limb skyward. Beyond the clearing, I stalk without slowing over lime-colored moss by the maple roots. Up ahead, the thrush has gone silent. I arrive at the pine and think to look above. Before I can, I hear the thrush 18
The Winnings by Frank Diamond
I dream that my late wife, Megan, and my verymuch-alive girlfriend, Sophia, sit in a café downtown, sharing wine and some delicate finger thingys — rare cheeses, quiche, caviar. They are working class girls who climbed up and out, and neither would munch like this in real life. Give ’em Buffalo wings! The spicier the better! But…. “You know how dreams are” pepper stories like this; it may have been one of the first ideas articulated when humans started interpreting these night visions, probably around the same time that we realized we exist (if only for a short while). Megan and Sophia chat like old friends. I can’t hear what they say for I am looking in from outside. I am stalking, someone could argue, peering through the window from across the street as I pretend to talk on my smartphone. Or is it a river that divides us? No, it’s a street and the traffic’s ebb and flow breaks my view into frames. Snapshot. Megan and Sophia lean in conspiratorially. Snapshot. Megan and Sophia rock back, laughing.
Snapshot. Leaning in again. Bargaining? Snapshot. Now they focus on something on the table in front of each. What? Phones? Menus? The angle of their elbows and shoulders makes it seem as if they might be writing — or erasing. Hmmm. That at any moment my concentration could burn a hole in this reel makes these dream-images all that more precious and delicate. Crumbly as a late autumn leaf. Ethereal as the first winter dusting. Temperamental as a rainbow after a spring shower. It’s improbable that this Megan-Sophia tête-à-tête would ever have happened in real life. (And now, of course, Megan’s dead, so it’s downright impossible.) Megan and Sophia were never friends, although they knew of each other. Sophia and I worked together and she and Megan met at those forcedfun occasions at which companies require attendance. They said “hi,” exchanged pleasantries. A few years after Megan’s death, when Sophia and I began dating, she underscored this loose connection by noting, “I didn’t really know Megan.” That’s Sophia saying: “Move on!” Which, by the way, Megan probably echoes in the afterlife. “Move on!”
Megan and I had been married 18 years before uterine cancer got her. No kids. Megan raised six siblings after her mother died young (also uterine cancer) and decided “enough, already,” which was fine by me. I am Uncle John 17 times over (18 in about six weeks). I might have been Father John if I hadn’t quit the seminary on a long-ago rainy Good Friday afternoon. There was no dramatic crisis in faith, by the way. Those snaggle-toothed sisters “the problem of suffering” and “why is there evil?” didn’t lure me with the creaking come hither of gnarled index fingers. I just drifted. First into Megan’s arms. Then, years later, into Sophia’s. “Don’t compare,” an old boss of mine advised. (She’d been widowed twice.) “These are different women with different histories, different strengths, different weaknesses.” Yes, different. Megan: curly hair, fair Irish skin, an extrovert and — I’ll say it — noble. It’s a strange word for a man to describe someone with whom he’s shared bathrooms. But you can’t fake death, and how you approach it. I watched her. Noble. Sophia: long black hair with bangs, brown inquisitive eyes; an introvert whose soft affect hides a steely will. I do not yet have a “noble” to describe Sophia, the sort of word someone constructs only after a lover dies. I hope (and, admittedly, pray) that I never again need such a word.
Similarities: both scary smart, industrious, honest, and wielders of great laughs at life’s absurdities, the kind of laughter that will pull you in. Also: sensual, beautiful, generous and, as mentioned, partial to Buffalo wings. People ask how it feels to love again. And I will indeed tell them — even Megan’s family, where I am always the enshrined Uncle John. I don’t bore them with my Megan-Sophia dream (give me some credit), just the lesson learned. How it ends. Suddenly, Sophia and Megan look directly at me and smile. So much for my spycraft. I feel myself blush, wave shyly. Snapshot. Closeup. They each hold winning tickets. Scratchoffs. What are the odds? They can’t wait to share with me. So, how does it feel to love again? I respond: “It’s as if I hit the lottery twice in one lifetime.” You know how dreams are.
About the Author Frank Diamond's poem, “Labor Day,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize Award. His short stories have appeared in RavensPerch, Innisfree, Kola: A Black Literary Magazine, Dialogual, the Madras Mag, Reverential Magazine, the Examined Life Journal, Into the Void, Empty Sink Publishing, the Zodiac Review and the Fredericksburg Literary and Arts Review, among many other publications. He has had poetry published in Philadelphia Stories, Fox Chase Review, Deltona Howl, Artifact Nouveau, Black Bottom Review, and Feile-Festa. He lives in Langhorne, Pa.
Poetry by Catherine A. Coundjeris
In the Midst of the Green Wood In the midst of the green wood stood a stone as large as a man. By the stone there lived an old crone on the crossroads. She asked every traveler the same question, seeking the one who knew the answer and so would be rewarded. Of the three which one is the most important part: mind, soul, or heart? Now there lived three sisters who journeyed to the east side of the wood from the west side. The eldest, a raven-haired beauty answered the mind, of course, for from thought comes all accomplishments. “Reason reigns triumphant over all!” But no, the middle sister said. She with golden head and beauty rare. The heart is what matters most, “for without passion how can anything be created?” The youngest sister shy and plain said it is not any of the three for you cannot divide such perfect unity. The three are one, for the individual is a trinity. That old witch was sorely pressed for she had to give up her prize. The youngest answered right. Long she dwelt by the stone as mistress to a small fortune. 21
Upon the property stood a wishing well that granted an awesome boon. Wisdom and long life to the guardian and so, she passed on her goods to another youngest sister and left this world behind for another story. Now the youngest dame had a new game to while away her time. She would ask a question, too, seeking one who would come after her. For many a long year travelers journeyed by, tossing in their coins and gems, Wishing for this and for that, but no one answered correctly. “What was the price for immortality?” Until one day a young man came bright-eyed and handsome. Full of desire for fame and glory. When the sister posed her question, he stood awhile in thought. Not answering what came to mind at first, but contemplating the possibilities. Morning passed to afternoon then evening and next came night. Still the young man would not answer. He wanted to get it right. To this day he hesitates on the lines of some ancient tome. Immortal, for he became part of a fairy tale told over and over again. For one to become immortal you must stop the wheel of life and hold fast as it ends and begins again. Take a stand and hold fast and maybe someone will write about you. After the Rush After the rush is over. After the holidays After the packages are opened And the gifts and foods displayed.
After the jolly hellos After the misty farewells After the ringing and the singing And the kissing under mistletoes. After the New Year’s grand opening After the champagne and cheer After the eggnog drinking And the cookies disappear.
Learning on ongoing purpose. A quest with treasure, glittering at the peak of a new horizon of fine prospects. A never-ending story lasting lifetimes if you but choose to engage…
After all the waiting After all the labor. After all the celebrating And the little children’s laughter. Lingers the quiet Lingers the winter. Lingers the fruitcake in the refrigerator.
Fine Prospects New faces like bright lights shine unknown adventures. Made known by the magic of names. Beautiful names, strong ones, exotic ones, remembered through mental gymnastics. Guideposts for the happenings of a lifetime. Begun in classes journeys abroad to many strange countries and fascinating cities begin with a single thought. The taste of knowledge sweet and tart its red membrane between your teeth its after taste invigorating, leaving an effervescent bubble in your nose.
About the Poet A former elementary school teacher, Catherine has also taught writing at Emerson College and ESL writing at Urban College in Boston. Her poetry is published in Literary Magazines, including Scarlet Leaf Review, 34th Parallel Magazine, Borrowed Solace, Arie Chart, New Readers Magazine, The Drabble, Nightingale and Sparrow, and Rune Bear. Currently she is living with her family in Frederick and she is working on a YA novel. Catherine volunteers as an ESL Coordinator with the Literacy Council of Frederick County and she is very passionate about adult literacy. 22
NSTRUCTOR SPOTLIGHT Writing with Dawn Metcalf
How to Get Traditionally Published Course Schedule:
"I like my stories like my chocolate-dark, bittersweet, and a little bit nutty." ~Dawn Metcalf Not only is Dawn Metcalf an acclaimed author (‘Luminous’ and the four-book ‘Twixt’ series), but she is an accomplished teacher, too! Here at The Storyteller's Cottage, Dawn teaches the Advanced Writers Lab for young creative writers and How to Get Traditionally Published for adults. Dawn is extremely knowledgeable about the writing industry and loves to share practical "inside" industry information with local writers. In her own words: “I have no good excuse for the way I write. I lived in a normal, loving, suburban home, studied hard, went to college, went to graduate school, got married, had babies, and settled down in northern Connecticut. Despite this wholesome lifestyle, I was clearly corrupted by fairy tales, puppet visionaries, British humour and graphic novels. As a result, I write dark, quirky, and sometimes humorous speculative fiction.” Beginning on March 4th, the latest five-week session of “How to Get Traditionally Published” will launch. Writers may sign up for all five classes, or pick and choose the Wednesdays they wish to attend. This course is perfect for writers who are interested in or ready to take that exciting step into the world of publishing! 23
Wed Mar 4: Overview of How to Get Published Wed Mar 11: How to Get an Agent Wed Mar 18: How to Write a Query Letter Wed Mar 25: How to Pitch Your Work Wed Apr 1: Designing Your Brand Dawn will speak about her writing process at an Author Afternoon open to the public on Sunday, March 22 at 2:00 pm. For just $5 guests can hear Dawn read from some of her five books and ask questions about what it's like to navigate the world of traditional publishing with Harlequin Teen. Check out Dawn’s upcoming classes at The Storyteller’s Cottage and visit her website for more information about her published works! http://www.dawnmetcalf.com
Join us at our Script to Screen Summit this Spring!
Calling all aspiring screenwriters and filmmakers! Join an exciting array of nationally-recognized writers, producers, directors and consultants for an immersive weekend of workshops, panels, keynote lectures and networking. Learn how to enter, succeed and thrive in the film and television industry from leaders in the field. Meet industry professionals face-to-face in the charming historic setting of Simsbury, Connecticut. Find more information and register at: https://www.storytellerscottage.com/script-to-screen-summit
April 25 & 26 BASE TICKET: $200 COLLEGE STUDENT: $100 HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: $50
y r d a e r e h t s i L lea n U Twelve Ways that Writers Confuse Readers by Writer-in-Residence & Editor C. Flanagan Flynn
In my many years teaching writing workshops and as an editor, I’ve come across a variety of different issues that trip up writers. Below are a dozen problems I consistently notice that tend to confuse readers. 1. Not knowing where to place the camera in your writing. Know where you want to direct the reader’s attention. Make sure the way you’re moving the camera in a scene makes sense. Can the reader easily follow as you zoom in on whatever closeup you might want your reader to see? Or is the reader’s attention randomly directed in all directions? 2. All dialogue and no gestures. All words and too few gestures make your reader lose sense of who the characters are in terms of what they convey through their actions. Think of how important it is for you to interpret body language when you’re in a conversation. 3. Losing a sense of setting. It’s important that a reader can see images of your characters in your story as it’s unfolding in the world you’ve built on the page... not all the time but just enough to fuel the reader’s imagination. Think of using setting as another character in your book. Can you place props in that setting, so your characters can use them to convey something intriguing or meaningful about the story? 25
A monthly column by C. Flanagan Flynn, Writer-in-Residence at the Storyteller's Cottage
4. Too few time markers or none at all. Be sure to use time markers, so the reader understands the passage of time in your writing. It’s important the reader knows whether five minutes, five hours, or five years have transpired. When you’re transitioning into flashbacks it’s necessary for your reader to understand how far back in time the flashback occurs. 5. Writing something in summary rather than in scene. Think of the most impactful moments in your book. Be intentional about ensuring we see those crucial moments in scene. Sometimes it feels like more work to write a scene, but the longest distance between two points for a writer is a shortcut. 6. Writing something in scene when the reader only needs it summarized. Not all moments are scene worthy. Think deeply about why the scene is necessary to your story. Scenes that do nothing are tedious and do nothing to win over your reader. 7. Moments that are neither fully scene nor exposition. Oftentimes writers will start writing a moment as a scene and then shift into a summarized version. The reader feels shortchanged after expecting a scene that doesn’t come to fruition. 8. Throwing too many characters at your reader too quickly. Don’t overload your reader. Do we need to know the name of every neighbor on the block if those characters aren’t
going to have an integral role in your story? When a reader encounters a character with a name, the reader believes it’s important to remember that character. Do this too often with characters who never reappear, and you’ll frustrate and fatigue your reader. 9. Lack of sensory detail. Be sure to employ sensory details effectively. As writers, we tend to rely on the sense of sight. You also should incorporate sound, taste, smell, or tactile sensory detail, so your reader can inhabit your characters and scenes. 10. Writing in too much detail without being selective in choosing the most compelling details. Make sure you’re a ruthless editor of your own writing. It takes time and practice to acquire this skill. One of the best ways to tune your ear to what good writing sounds like is to read. Another way is to share your writing in a workshop that incorporates insightful feedback. 11. Not following basic rules of writing. New speaker equals a new paragraph. If you have two characters in the same scene, don’t run their conversation together in the same paragraph. This is wildly confusing to your reader. 12. Not understanding what you want a scene, chapter, or essay to accomplish. What are you aiming for? If you don’t know, your reader will be hard pressed to figure out what they should take away from your writing. Here’s the good news: I promise if you address these things in your writing, your writing will improve dramatically. And, as you fine-tune your craft, your reader will connect more fully and deeply with your writing.
C. Flanagan Flynn is the Writer in Residence at the Storyteller's Cottage. She leads several writing workshops throughout the year, and is available for one-on-one consultations.
If you have any questions on your writing and you’d like to schedule one-on-one time to discuss your writing with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Happy writing! C.
Spring Writing Workshops How to Get Traditionally Published 5 Wednesday sessions... 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm Wed Mar 4: Overview of How to Get Published Wed Mar 11: How to Get an Agent Wed Mar 18: How to Write a Query Letter Wed Mar 25: How to Pitch Your Work Wed Apr 1: Designing Your Brand with Dawn Metcalf
(Choose individual sessions for $45 each, or prepay for all 5 for $200 and save $25)
How to Become a Freelance Writer Thursdays March 5, 12, 19... 6:30 - 7:30 pm with T.J. Banks ($100 for 3 classes) Build Better Story: Short Story Basics Saturday March 7... 1:00 - 2:30 pm with Steve Liskow ($35) Build Better Story: Revision Saturday March 14... 1:00 - 2:30 pm with Steve Liskow ($35) Unapologetically Fearless Saturday March 21... 1:00 - 4:00 pm This nonfiction workshop will focus on teaching writers how to be fearless when writing the truth â€” no matter what that truth looks like. with Nikki Sambitsky ($60) Write On! Using Writing to Heal Wednesdays, March 25 - May 6... 6:00 - 8:00 pm Write On! takes that idea to individuals living with trauma or a mental health issue and helps them learn how to use writing as a way to heal. This 8-week writing workshop is designed for adults (age 30+) who are looking for a safe space for inner exploration in a welcoming environment that we create together. with Janet Reynolds ($250 for 8 week session) Secrets of Screenwriting: Spring Sundays March 29 - June 7... 1:00 - 2:30 pm [No class on 4/12, 4/26, 5/24] with Pamela Perry Goulardt ($250 for 8 week session) How to Self-Publish Your Book Thursdays, April 2, 9, 16... 6:30 - 7:30 pm with T.J. Banks ($100 for 3 classes) Write Your Memoir or Novel Thursdays, Apr 9 - May 28... 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm with our Writer-in-Residence, C. Flanagan Flynn ($250 for 6 sessions) The Ties That Bind: Family Stories Saturday, April 11... 9:00 am - 5:00 pm As experienced writers and teachers who also are related, Janet and Rachel will offer writing prompts and strategies for tackling family stories as well as a safe space to explore the stories we tell ourselves and others. with Janet & Rachel Reynolds ($150) 27
Goodreads Pop-Up Book Swap
Alice in Wonderland Grown Up Tea Party
Fri. March 6 / 5:30 pm
Sat. March 7 / 3:30 pm
Sat. March 7 / 6:00 pm
A Springtime Tea Party
Pajama & Pizza Party for Writers
WHO KILLED GATSBY?
An Unfortunate Evening
'The Crown' Tea Party
Sat. March 14 / 8:00 pm
Sat. March 28 / 8:00 pm
A Live Murder Mystery
A Lemony Snicket Party
Sat. April 11 / 2:30 pm A Royal Afternoon Tea Party
Live Clue Game for Teens
Armenian Brandy Tasting
Downton Abbey Tea Party
Sat. April 11 / 7:00 pm
Sat April 25 / 8:00 pm
Sat. May 9 / 2:00 pm
A Live Murder Mystery for Teens
A William Saroyan Night
An Afternoon Tea Party
Book Discussion & Book Swap
Literary Afternoons 31
There's something for everyone at our Literary Afternoons! Les Deux Magots: Literary Cafe Meets on the 1st Saturday of each month 3:30-5:00 pm / FREE
"Les Deux Magots" is an iconic café in the Saint-Germaindes-Prés area of Paris, France known as a famous rendezvous point for the literary and intellectual élite of the city. Wish you could while away a stimulating Saturday afternoon sipping tea and chatting with fellow literary enthusiasts? Drop in to our own version of "Les Deux Magots" on the 1st Saturday of each month!
The Bard's Bistro: A Gathering of Songwriters Meets on the 3rd Saturday of each month 3:30-5:00 pm / FREE
The Storyteller's Cottage is the center of a community of storytellers of all types. Are you a musical storyteller? Drop in on the 3rd Saturday of each month between 3:30 and 5:00 pm to meet and jam with fellow songwriters. Bring your song notebook, your ideas that you'd like to bounce off other songwriters, and your instrument if you'd like to play. Sing, chat, or just listen and spend an inspiring afternoon immersed in the magic of the music.
Fictional Feasts: Book & Food Pairing Club Meets on the 4th Saturday of each month 3:30 - 5:00 pm / Prepay: $10 Join us on the 4th Saturday of each month for a merry and nostalgic book & food pairing based on your favorite books! A cross between a book club and a tea party, our Fictional Feasts celebrate the beloved novels that we all know and love (so you won't have to commit to reading a new book each month). Immerse yourself in a cherished favorite novel as we chat about the story and sample its quintessential cuisine. (Designed for ages 14 - adult)
Murder in the Library: Mini Mystery & Author Salon Meets on the 3rd Sunday of each month 3:30 - 5:00 pm / Prepay: $5 What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than pondering murder in an elegant Victorian library? Stop in on the 3rd Sunday of each month for a unique activity perfect for mystery fans. to hear a different local mystery author discuss their latest book. You may choose to read the book ahead of time, or purchase a signed copy when you arrive.
ea in Wonderland... Visit our newest tea room! Don't fall down the rabbit hole on your way into our new Alice in Wonderland Tea Room... “Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly. “I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone: “so I can’t take more.” “You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “It’s very easy to take more than nothing.” Adventure and charm await in this special tea room, but just so you know...you won't want to leave Wonderland after you visit this enchanting spot!
This special room is perfect for birthday parties, tea parties, intimate events, small writing and art classes, book clubs and more! 33
“It's a l ― Lew ways teais C ti arroll, Alic
e in Wo
`Yes, that’s it,’ said the Hatter with a sigh: `it’s always tea-time..." ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Youth Activities 37
Spring Youth Activities Dumbledore's Army Meets the 2nd Sunday of each month from 1-2:30 PM ($20 per session) Calling all witches & wizards! Join us in the secret Room of Requirement at Ilvermorny, the American outpost of Hogwarts, to learn all of the magical skills Professor Umbridge doesn't want you to know! Each month, we'll base our lessons on a different Harry Potter book from the series. Take two different classes each month (ranging from Potions to Herbology to Divination to Defense Against the Dark Arts, and more) with visiting Hogwarts professors. We'll make cool things, discuss the books & movies, enjoy magical snacks, and have a fantastic time with our new friends. Students will receive the monthly Quibbler newsletter featuring awesome Harry Potter projects as well! A Grand Adventure: A Mystery Game & Tea Party for Grandparents & Grandchildren Sunday, Mar 29 from 2:00 pm - 3:30 PM ($20 per person- icludes game & food)
Free Spring Storytimes Storytime with Joyce Lapin: "If You had your Birthday Party on the Moon" Saturday, March 21st at 1:00 PM Storytime with Sheryl Kayne: "The Queen of the Kisses" Saturday, March 28th at 1:00 PM Storytime with Amanda Bannikov: "The Sleepy Dragon" Saturday, April 4th at 1:00 PM- Storyteller's Press Author! Storytime with Iza Trapani: "Vole and Troll" Saturday, April 18th at 1:00 PM Storytime with Shawn Elizabeth George: "A Place for Sam" Saturday, May 16th at 1:00 PM
Youth Workshops Filmmaking, TV Writing & Visual Storytelling for Kids - Best for Grades 5 - 9 Sundays, March 29 - June 7, 3:00 - 4:30 pm...with Pamela Perry Goulardt [No class on 4/12, 4/26, 5/24]($250 for 8 sessions) Homeschool Creative Writing Academy - ($15 a class) Thursdays (ages 7 - 9): 2:30 - 4:00 pm...with Pamela Perry Goulardt Fridays (ages 9 -12): 2:00 - 3:30 pm...with Pamela Perry Goulardt
TRY OUR NEW...
Enter the Script to Screen Summit: Screenplay Contest today! For more information visit: https://filmfreeway.com/ ScripttoScreenSummit
Amanda Forker, Editor Lisa Natcharian, Publisher Submissions Contact: Amanda@StorytellersCottage.com Advertising: Contact Lisa@StorytellersCottage.com
The Storyteller's Cottage
Erin Dotson-Kelly, Events Amanda Forker, Events & Writing Alanna Hammond, Mysteries & Facilities Natasha Mercado-Santana, Marketing Lisa Natcharian, Owner Samantha Soucy, Events Meredith West, Events
Jen Cook, Game Master Josh Jaggon, Game Master Emily Scott, Game Master
www.storytellerscottage.com/ membership 43
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The quarterly literary magazine of the Storyteller's Cottage